Skip to main content
7:00 pm
tonight on "worldfocus" -- >> in iraq, a strong and unequivocal dissent by britain's former president on his decision to go to war. on an island paradise, the secret talks in ending the war in afghanistan and getting the taliban to join the government. more than two weeks after the devastating earth quake in haiti, the growing threat of disease among those still in desperate need of help. and far away from conflict and catastrophe, life among the penguins, up close and personal in patagonia. from the different perspectives of reporters and analysts around the globe, this is "worldfocus." major support has been provided by -- rosalind p. walters and the peter j. peterson foundat n
7:01 pm
foundation, dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility and key economic challenges facing america's future. and additional funding is provided by the following supporters. >> good evening. welcome to "worldfocus." i'm daljit dhaliwal in new york. although the united states still has more than 100,000 troops in iraq, britain's involvement ended last year when the country withdrew its forces. but for britain, the emotional cost of the war continues, especially for the families of 179 british troops who were killed in iraq. the families were among those paying close attention today as the former british prime mister, tony blair, mounted a strong defense of every decision he made as he led britain into the war. the setting was britain's most wide-ranging investigation into the conflict. and it brought back all of the issues and justifications of the
7:02 pm
war, the september 11 attacks, the purported weapons of mass destruction, the brutal leadership of saddam hussein and his use of chemical weapons. in tonight's "lead focus," defending the war in raq. lucy manning of our british partner itn watched as passions ran high both inside and outside the hearing. >> they call him a war criminal. they believe he's the prime minister who took britain into an illegal war. this is not a trial, but the demonstrators would like it to be one. waiting to hear mr. blair's words, some of the families of british soldiers killed in iraq, this their last chae for answers, mr. blair's chance to defend his legacy and reputation. he looked a little pensive but soon got into his stride,
7:03 pm
admitting that after september the 11th, the american and british positions on iraq have hardened. >> the defections could not contain them, and were not prepared to allow the u.n. inspectors back in, then the option of removing saddam was there. and that option, incidentally, has always been there after the september 11th. change was, as i say, our calculation, mine and i think the americans', as well, that we couldn't go on like this. >> reporter: b mr. blair d denied agreeing a covert deal with george bush to go to war when the two met at crawford in april 2002, an agreement that's been claimed was in effect signed in blood there. >> the only commitment i gave, and i gave this very openly at the meeting, was a decommitment to deal with saddam. what i was saying to president bush, and i wasn't saying this privately, i was saying it publicly, was we are going to be with you in confronting and dealing with this threat. there was no -- i mean, the one
7:04 pm
thing i would not do was dissemiblg in that. >> reporter: pressed on the controversial dossier where the ultimately misleading claim that saddam's weapons could be ready in 45 minutes, the first real admission of a mistake. >> i didn't focus on it a great deal at the time because it was mentioned by me, and i say it was never actually mentioned again by me. and as i indicated to the butler inquiry, in the light of subsequently what happened and the importance it subsequently took on, it would have most certainly been better to have corrected it. >> reporter: but today it seemed was not a time for regret. >> the decision i took and frankly would take again, if there was an possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction we should stop him. that was my view. that was my vw then. that's my view now. >> mr. blair's always defended his iraq position, today
7:05 pm
reiterating that he believed beyond doubt there were wmd, and he remained defiant, denying taking the britain to war on a lie. >> this isn't about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception. it's a decision. and the decision i had to take was given ddam's history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over 1 million people, given the ten years of breaking u.n. resolution, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons programsr is that a risk that would be irresponsible to take? >> it was a matter of judgment, he said. he thinks he made the right one. outside, they don't. lucy manning, itv news. we've been talking a lot this week about t other war in afghanistan and efforts to find a political solution to that conflict. beyond the public outreach to the taliban, beyond the plans for a large fund of cash to try to win their support, it turns
7:06 pm
out that there have been secret talks going on between elements of the afghan government and the opposition. as david chase of al jazeera english shows us, the talks took place a world away from the battleground of afghanistan. >> a tourist haven and a luxury result, an unlikely setting for a potential breakthrough in the bitter war in afghanistan. but al jazeera was able to confirm that vital talks did, indeed, take place here last weekend, attended by afghan mps and a government official with one of the main armed opposition groups fighting alongside the taliban. the leader of islami sent his son to the talks and it was agreed he would deed lede a delegation to the most senior leaders of the taliban to discusseconciliation with the afghan government. an mp who just arrived back from the talks told al jazeera seven
7:07 pm
men with close links to the taliban were also present. all of them held in high respect by the taliban's leader, mullah omar. >> we are trying to find a third way, a way between all the groups involved, a way for the foreigners to leave, the possibility of merging the taliban with the government, the possibility of a cease-fire. there are lots of issues i won't talk about now. >> the choice of these islands in the middle of the indian ocean was taken because it was the only place the fighters attending felt safe. the talks came just as several taliban commanders were taken off a u.n. blacklist. this man, who used to be a taliban deputy minister, only heard his name had been removed from the u.n.'s blacklist when he heard it on the radio last night. he told us about the corrosive effect of being on that list. >> the cat may be a very weak animal, but if you chase it and trap it against a wall with no means of escape it will turn back and attack you.
7:08 pm
>> the u.n. security council panel that removed his name and four others from the blacklist made the decision to coincide with president karzai's outreach program. >> those taliban who are not part of terrorist networks, as i mentioned earlier, who are not part of al qaeda and other terrorist networks, or the sons of afghan soil and who are in thousands and thousands and thousands, they have to be reintegrated and they're welcome to be integrated. >> but the u.n. blacklist still contains the names of nearly 140 taliban commanders, some of whom are also on the american military's kill or capture list. past experience has shown that efforts to get them around the negotiating table have proved very dangerous for them. a major offensive against taliban strongholds is about to be launched in their sudden hea heartland in helmand by both u.s. and british troops. the coast of president obama's reinforcements is put at $1 million per soldier per year.
7:09 pm
that's $30 billion in the next 12 months. david chaiter, al jazeera, kabul. as we turn to this week's "roundtable discussion," we're going to focus entirely on afghanistan this evening. at yesterday's london conference and beyond, there was renewed talk this week of trying to negotiate an end to the long war in afghanistan. andoining us once again tonight, gideon rose, managing editor of "foreign affairs" magazine, and james ruben, an adjunct professor at columbia university school of international and public affairs and a former assistant secretary of state in the clinton administration. thank you very much for join us. good to see you both again here. so we just saw that spot about the secret negotiations that have taken place, about ing the taliban. where do you see this going? do you see this going very far, james? >> well, i think there's really
7:10 pm
two tracks. there's a military track and a diplomatic track. and the general mcchrystal, who has gotten the troops that he says he needs to reverse the taliban's momentum, wants to work with the diplomats to synchronize the tracks. and i think the idea here is that if there is in the coming couple of months, as there is expected to be, a major nato offensive and the taliban really sees that they have no chance of really winning, if the feelers are put out in the meantime and the doors opened and karzai and the west and all of the international community is showing that there is some middle ground for them, that's the best chance to use a combination of diplomacy and force to end the war on -- this is crucial -- on terms that are acceptable, because allowing the taliban back into government is one thing. allowing the taliban style of government is something else that is not acceptable i think both to the afghan people as a
7:11 pm
whole and to the international community. >> deon, what are the mechanics of this? how would this work? who would we be talking to? do you think this can be accomplished? >> well, i think a lot is unclear here and what makes it even more complicated is the fact there are different strategies being pursued by t players. so that the american government and military and diplomats have been in favor of reintegration of lower-level foot soldiers, midlevel officials and so forth, peeling off or co-opting some of the injure sent forces, for example, some of the things the karzai government have been recently talking about are much grander, not just reintegration, but reconciliation with opposing political factions. and you hear talk about ending the war, some kind of peace deal, i think it's unrealistic to expect that we're going to see the war end with some kind of compromised deal, whereas it's more realistic -- >> you don't think this is going to be a strategy that's going to bring peace to afghanistan.
7:12 pm
either of you. >> i don't buy it. >> i don't think there's going to be a peace conference. i think gideon is right. there's not going to be a peace conference with mullah omar and karzai and the international community sign some accord and all is well. i do, however, think it's possible that the different strains of the taliban will be responded to in different ways. there will be those who are irreconcilab irreconcilable, connected with al qaeda, mullah omar i would put in that camp. then there are those who at various times have supported the taliban leadership, perhaps in quetta but see the writing on the wall that the u.s. is going to stay and th momentum is reversing. and then there are those that gideon was talking about primarily that are really not ideological talin that are fighting for whatever reason that can see a better deal with the west. so there's -- there's three different kinds of taliban, and i think for different strokes for different folks. >> right. so gideon, what do you think this is an opportunity for, then? >> well, i'm somewhat cynical about this, but in a positive
7:13 pm
way, i see this as the use of carrots to essentially divide and conquer various insurgent groups and essentially help win the war or make progress in the war by reducing your enemy to the absolute die-hard components who cannot in any way, shape, or form be co-opted. essentially, all this is a sensible approach to try to co-opt, reintegrate, bring back in from the cold any members of the insurgency or opposition who could possibly be lived with, who is willing to renounce violence and who are willing to accept the afghan constitution. those should be the only things that we hold out on. and anybody else who agrees with that, bring them back in. but then you're still going to be left with some rump groups that you'll have to actually fight. and so this is part of the process of fighting the war rather than a route to solving it or ending it. >> what would the incentive be for these groups, these different factions, these different elements to come to the table and to make peace or to take money in order to make
7:14 pm
peace? >> well, i think it's both a negative and a pozive to, and that's why the offense thif spring is really important. if the taliban, all of the different groups, are convinced that nato is there to stay for an extended period, that they are determined to operate militarily across the cntry and reverse the momentum the taliban have created, you create a negative incentive. in other words, they're going to stop getting killed, they're going to stop facing this very powerful nato force that's growing there. on the positive side, i think it depends. there are suggestions that there will be reintegration funds for education, for jobs, for local governance that would involve local, say, pashtun that are affiliated with the taliban. but, again, i think the hardest part of this is convincing the afghan people, both taliban, non-taliban, and the karzai government, that we're in this
7:15 pm
for long enough that they can't wait us out. and that's why this spring offensive is so important and the words that the west uses are so important. >> and the interesting part about it, i agree entirely with jamie, the interesting part of that, though, is the american people have to be convinced this is worth doing so that our efforts can be sustainable. simply saying we're in this for the long haul won't work if the american domestic support for the operation evaporates so much that the administration is forced to cave. and so, some kind of progress and even, frankly, the pledge to start pulling out in 2011, is i think part of the obama ministration's careful juggling strategy to convince americans that this is not an open-ended separating wound but, rather, something that's a sustainable, viable operation, that costs are going to be capped. so you're trying to tell the americans you're not going to pay too much forever, but you're trying to tell the local, don't worry, we're here, we're going to stay and support you and the bad you can't just wait us
7:16 pm
out. >> all right. >> a tough balance to walk and hopefully they can walk it. >> jamie ruben, gideon rose, great to see you. thank you. in the middle east, the militant palestinian group hamas accused israeli agents of assassinating one of the founders of its military wing. hamas identified him as mahmoud al mabhu. a hamas official said that he's been poisoned and electrocuted in a hotel room in dubai. al mabhu was buried today at a refugee camp in syria. his brother said that al mabhu had survived two previous assassination attempt base israel, the most recent six months ago. hamas said that he was involved in the killing of two israeli soldiers in 1989. some economic news from around the world this evening. although japan continues to recover from the recession with exports and factory orders up, one key economic threat remains.
7:17 pm
that is deflation, the decline in prices that threatens workers' wages and forces coumers to put off purchases. government figures out today show that last month consumer prices fell 1.3%, the biggest drop since japan's consumer price index began 40 years ago in 1970. japan's central bank has said overcoming deflation is a critical challenge. in europe, as in this country, unemployment continues to be a huge concern. the unemployment rate in the 16 countries that use e euro as their currency rose to 10% last month, up slightly from november. in the broader european union, estonia continued to suffer the most with 22.8% unemployment, while in spain the number rose to 19.5%. the lowest unemployment was in the netherlands at 4% llowed by austria at 5.4%.
7:18 pm
and from russia, this story caught our attention about hard times in a city southwest of moscow. the city-owned company that maintains this statue of vladimir lenin has gone bankrupt and can't afford repairs that would cost almost $50,000. so after 60 years in the city, the relic of the old soviet union has been put up for sale. the price has not been disclosed. at the world economic forum in switzerland today, bill and melinda gates announced that their foundation would give $10 billion over the next decade to develop and deliver vaccines to developing countries. the goal is to save the lives of
7:19 pm
8 million children in that time frame. the cause of those suffering from the recent earthquake in haiti is also getting considerable attention at the forum in switzerland. yesterday former president bill clinton made another appeal for support, telling business and political leaders that the need is for cash more than anything else. >> this is an opportunity to reimagine the future for the haitian people to build a country that they want to become instead ofo rebuild what they used to be. we have to get to the emergency, we have to get it organized, and we have to have the right structure and the right support. i rin vit you to be a part of that. and in haiti, doctors and aid workers say that they are running dangersly low on meds cal supplies, including antibiotics. one of the big fears is that disease will spread, and there are already reports of a growing number of cases of diarrhea. tonight, 17 days after the
7:20 pm
earthquake struck, we return to hai haiti, where jonah hull of al jazeera english, found a deepening medical emergency. >> inside and out, haiti's hospitals are inundated with patients being treated in the open air. one of the most daunting tasks for medical staff, many who volunteered to come here from of infection among wounds that have festered untreated for too long. >> you're going to have a lot of people who will die from infection. you already have fever and are not being treated properly. we don't have enough help. the doctors inside, the nurses are overwhelmed. we're trying our best, but thousands of people there. >> for allegdi and alex, things could have been worse. she has her family with her. looking on is 6-year-old son
7:21 pm
anir, who we're told was rescued from the ruins of the family home. the challenge now for the traumatized and the injure is not just to get well but to avoid getting worse. >> in this kind of situation, we should expect we have infection because there are people with open wounds, a problem with sanitation, and we could have rain. >> the rains aren't due to start for another two months, but already sporadic things have fallen. the big worry is heavy rains, sending water tumbling down the higher slopes of the city, picking up dirt, waste, and the decay of dead bodies still trapped in the rubble as it goes, and finally ending up here, collecting in stagnant pools among the living where hundreds of thousands huddle in makeshift camps. on the dry earth of the tented camps, some organized, many more spontaneously erected in every available open space, the threat
7:22 pm
of infection is joined by the danger of disease. rain water here could bring fresh calamity, and with the need for better conditions only slowly being met, the two-month window before the rainy season starts looks verysmall, indeed. al jazeera, port-au-prince. finally tonight, let's end the week on a different note. we're going to take you to patagonia in the southern tip of argentina, where the only battle going on is the occasional rivalry between some of the millions of penguins that have taken up residence there each year. we went back with our partner, global post, and recently completed her report on the fascinating life and times of the penguins.
7:23 pm
>> driving along the coast of patagon patagonia, you'll see sandy desert and thorny bushes for miles. the last thing that you'd expect to see is a pair of penguins, but nearly 2 million penguins swim here. >> they return to the same nest, the same pair. >> she's a penguin biologist with nationale patagonia. for the last four years she's studied the san lorenzo colony on the peninsula valdez. >> you can be in the middle of the colony, like sharing their lives with them. >> and penguin life can be like watching a soap opera -- lots of drama. there are battles like this. with winners and losers. and males have to build the best
7:24 pm
nests to attract females. they mate for life -- well, mostly. a couple that knows each other's habits can synchronize their movements, and it's a struggle to provide enough food, warmth, and protection for their chicks. not all of them make it. it's a survival spectacle, one that 150,000 tourists come every year to see. >> people just love them. >> but people can add to the penguins' struggles. >> because they don't know, when they see them, sometimes they step on the nests because there are nests on the trails. >> that added stress is what she is studying. the colony of san lorenzo has only been open to tourists for nine years, so it's a good place to study the impacts of people on the wild birds. newly paved roads and cruise ships are bringing more camera-toting crowds to patagonia. the much larger penguin colony to the south is said to become argentina's third most popular tourist attraction. but 30 years ago, the colony was much harder to get to and
7:25 pm
penguins were much more skittish. but our research so far shows that penguins don't mind people. tourists don't stress the penguins or affect their breeding success. penguins are kind of lucky to have visitors. they provide economic incentives for conservation. they need protection. overall, the species population is in decline. scientists think that climate change might be a factor. although there isn't any melting ice pack here, warmer ocean currents are disrupting the food chain. penguins have to swim farther to find food for their young. so cecilia says it's good for people to come vi the penguins, burr it's better to find environmentally friendly ways to get here. >> and that is "worldfocus" for this friday evening and for this week. but don't forget, there's much more news and perspective to be found our website. check it out at worldfocus.org. i'm daljit dhaliwal in new york. for me and the entire team, have
7:26 pm
a great weekend and we'll see you back here on monday. until then, good night. major support for "worldfocus" has been provided by rosind p. walter and the peter g. peterson foundation, dedicating to promoting fiscal responsibility and addressing key economic challenges facing meares future. and additional funding is is provided by the following supporters. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
7:27 pm
7:28 pm
7:29 pm

tv
Worldfocus
WHUT January 29, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

News/Business. Daljit Dhaliwal. (2010) (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Afghanistan 7, Britain 7, U.n. 5, Taliban 4, Haiti 4, Mr. Blair 4, Iraq 3, Nato 3, Patagonia 3, Penguins 3, Us 2, Argentina 2, New York 2, Al Jazeera 2, Gideon 2, Switzerland 2, U.s. 2, San Lorenzo 2, Dhaliwal 2, Cecilia 1
Network WHUT
Duration 00:30:00
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 528
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color